Have you ever seen a Peanuts television special? While Charlie Brown, Sally, Linus, Lucy, and the other kids speak clearly, the adult voices are limited to a trombone-like “wa-wa- wa.” Every word of the parents and teachers sounds like nonsense.
Tragically, this is how the Israelites in today’s reading mocked the prophet Isaiah and his word from the Lord. Possibly drunk (v. 7), they said the prophet’s words sounded like nonsense, “wa-wa-wa” (vv. 9–10; see also Isa. 30:9–11). To whom did the prophet think he was speaking? Babies? The line translated “a rule for this, a rule for that” is probably, according to the NIV footnote, “meaningless sounds mimicking the prophet’s words.” Another source compares it to childish babbling or baby talk, thus connecting it to verse 9.
Since the people of Israel wouldn’t listen, scorning the prophet’s warning as meaningless, God would speak to them in a foreign language, words they wouldn’t understand (v. 11). This is a reference to the coming Assyrian conquest. God had once said to Israel, “This is the resting place, let the weary rest” and “This is the place of repose” (v. 12). This reference evokes the nation’s past failure. At the border of Canaan, they had refused to trust God. Both at that time and in Isaiah’s day, God intended blessings for His people, but instead Israel incurred His judgment because of their disobedience.
The word of the Lord would mock them in the same way they’d mocked Him (v. 13; see also Ps. 81:11–12). The result? They would fall. “They will be injured and snared and captured.” Pridefully, they thought their status as the “people of God” protected them, but they didn’t listen to God—a failure on their part. God had told them many times the consequences of their covenant unfaithfulness.
>> When confronted with the truth of God’s Word, what is your attitude? No, really. How do you feel about it? Troubled? Guilty? Indifferent? Reflect on these questions in your journal or pray about this today.
Have we grown bored with Scripture or numb to Your voice? Lord, in Your mercy reawaken our fervent love for You. Stir our consciousness of needing You. Save us from complacence.